Discovery Island area salmon farms closure puts at risk 1,500 rural coastal jobs, say local mayors

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North Vancouver Island Mayors and the BC Salmon Farmers Association Board sent an open letter to Minister Bernadette Jordan.

In response to December’s news that open-net salmon farms in the Discovery Islands near Campbell River, B.C., will be phased out over the next 18 months, Northern Vancouver Island Mayors have called the decision “shocking”.

19 sites owned by Mowi, Cermaq, Grieg Seafood will be removed.

In a letter to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guards, Northern Vancouver Island Mayors and industry leaders in salmon farming, said that they “are writing to express our deepest concern and disappointment.”

“Your shocking decision to order Discovery Islands area salmon farms closed directly puts at risk 1,500 jobs supported by those farms in the short term, while in the long term striking at a sustainable COVID recovery industry and at the economic viability of the entire CAD 1.6 billion salmon farming industry in BC.”

“Now, we feel disposable and discarded — locally-elected officials, salmon farmers, seafood processors, technology and transportation suppliers, and small business owners,” the letter stated.

It was also alluded that some kind of legal challenge could be on the horizon. “Be advised that we will no longer sit on the sidelines and will be pursuing every possible option to remedy this untenable situation,” the industry wrote.